Michael’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You
can read more about
Michael’s qualifications in specific subjects below.
I have been teaching K-6 for the past 20 years in our public schools. I have a State of California Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential for grades K-8.
Math is indeed, with the possible exception of language arts, the most challenging of school subjects! I have been teaching math in our public schools for a number of years now and I have found that using hands-on math manipulatives is highly effective. This method allows the learner a more concrete pathway to understanding mathematics! Most students have problems with math because they find it more abstract than concrete.
In my many years of teaching elementary school, science has been one of my favorite subjects. The excitement of how our world works from the inside (as well as the outside) provides a thrilling understanding to our minds and broadens our understanding of the universe. It also prepares students for important jobs in the medical field!
Reading, writing and literature are not only essential for becoming a productive member of our society, but can be a wonderful and thrilling art forms, providing enjoyable entertainment such as novels, and even movies! My teaching techniques emphasize reading literature and writing on topics in which the student is interested. Phonics and grammar lessons are also very important, because they provide the basic foundation that leads the learner to a world of understanding and even fun and excitement!
I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with an emphasis in vocal performance from Cal Poly Pomona. I have performed as an operatic tenor in many great works such as Verdi's "La Traviata" and many church solos by Mozart, Schubert and other great composers. I have a State of California Single Subject Teaching Credential for Music.
Grammar is essential for learning the English language! It provides the necessary rules and foundation for becoming an effective communicator! As a teacher of Grammar I emphasize the analyzing of sentence structure and the primary breakdown of subject and predicate with their essential modifiers. My students will also learn to diagram sentences using tried and true standard methods.
Literature is a great and exciting artform in which students can eventually begin to understand that reading books in which they are interested will not only provide information about their own culture, but the rest of the world as well. The basic foundations of grammar, phonics and vocabulary must be emphasized in the teaching of literature however and they all go together. Literature is the basic overall study of great literary works of art that provide a deeper understanding of our world!
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Cal Poly, Pomona. Vocal Performance is my specialty and I was trained as a performer of classical repertoire and earned excellent grades in the required comprehensive music history courses required for my degree. To this day I am an avid classical music lover and record collector.
My Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music required many basic and advanced courses in musical counterpoint, harmony and even basic composition. Music is an entire language unto itself like mathematics and language arts. The basics of pitch notation and rhythm must be learned. These are the music fundamentals a beginning musician must learn in order to advance to becoming a more seasoned one.
Phonics is extremely important and essential for learning the English language. It provides a framework of rules and guidelines for what is called "decoding" words which contain letters which represent sounds which combine together to form words that are the building blocks for sentences, then paragraphs and so on to writing essays, speeches, research papers and literature. Whew! That is quite an exciting journey! The teaching of phonics requires a great amount of memorization. The teacher helps the student with the very basic lessons.
Reading is the central skill of the body of subjects known as language arts. Phonics and Grammar are the prerequisites for learning basic reading. Beyond these the learner should advance to reading comprehension which is the true and thorough understanding of a body of writing. It entails the practice of analyzing pieces of writing and truly understanding their meanings and implications. Therefore lessons should include asking the student questions about what they are reading.
Probably the most powerful technique for improving a students study skills is becoming familiar with the questions they know they will be asked regarding the material before they actually read it. This provides an important sense of focus so that proper reinforcement of the most essential elements of the learning material is insured. Of course concentration and the ability to remain focused is greatly important. These are just a couple of examples but their are also certain study habits such as setting aside specific periods of time for study and adhering strictly to the schedule that are also essential. In my tutoring of students in the past such study skills and habits have been among the most challenging to teach.
Studying vocabulary usually entails becoming familiar at first with the more unfamiliar words in a piece of writing by looking them up in a dictionary. But also (and most importantly) being able to understand the meaning of the word in the context of the sentence. I have always believed that the reader should try to decipher the meaning of a word by using context clues within the sentence and breaking up the word into syllables and then looking them up in the dictionary to see if they're correct. This technique provides a more powerful learning experience.
My Bachelor of Arts degree from Cal Poly, Pomona School of Music included an emphasis on operatic and classical vocal technique. I have studied vocal pedagogy with some of the finest vocal pedagogues in Southern California including Polly Ann Baxter, William Vannard and Joe Kline. I emphasize a natural vocal production that is free and unforced combined with a natural, unforced breathing technique.
Of all the language arts subjects, writing is by far the most difficult. Ask any group of seasoned educators and they will tell you that not only is this true, but they will go on to say that it is writing where their students need the most improvement. The other language arts disciplines prepare the student for this but it is the techniques of outlining with bubble maps and tree maps, brainstorming appropriate vocabulary and ideas to form an organized and cohesive body of writing that is important.